Homeless Services | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeless Services

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Area Regional Commission on Homelessness found homes for hundreds of veterans this year. Now, the local homeless agencies that comprise the commission are using what they’ve learned to improve how they serve the region.

The commission, a partnership between St. Louis-area counties in Missouri and Illinois, aimed to house every homeless veteran in the region this year. By Nov. 11, it helped find homes for 93% of the 217 vets it found homeless in February. 

Mayor Lyda Krewson announces changes to homeless services during winter months at a press conference Oct. 30, 2019.
File Photo | Andrea Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is preparing 186 more beds across the city for people who are homeless during the coldest months of the year.

Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Wednesday that these beds will be available in December when the city begins its continuous Cold Weather Shelter & Outreach services. The beds are meant to serve as overflow options in addition to the 930 beds available year-round, Krewson said. They will be available in a variety of locations such as churches.

RukaNade founder Nermana Huskic came to St. Louis in the late 1990s, arriving with family members as refugees after the Bosnian war.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Nermana Huskić, the seeds of her future as a resource and service provider for homeless people were planted young. 

At the age of 5, Huskić witnessed terror and violent intimidation by Serbian soldiers who barged into her home looking for her father and other male figures. 

It was 1992 and the start of the Bosnian war. The Bosnian Serbs set out to rid the country of its Muslim population and gain desired land. 

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jason Kander speaks at a labor rally in St. Charles earlier this fall. Kander is squaring off against U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt this November.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a few months away from the public spotlight, Jason Kander is back.

But Kander isn’t venturing into the electoral arena. Instead, he’s leading the national expansion of a group that is trying to eradicate homelessness among veterans.

Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis opens its doors on weekdays and during weekend services to provide a place for the homeless to escape the summer heat.
File Photo | Nicholas Telep | St. Louis Public Radio

With temperatures expected to climb into the 90s this weekend, volunteers are stepping in to care for the city’s homeless population.

People who live on the streets are likely to become dehydrated and experience heatstroke — because there are few places they can find relief from the heat. Religious organizations and other nonprofits in St. Louis fill the gaps in homeless services, providing meals and opening their doors to the city’s unhoused population.

Officials sign the challenge to end homelessness on February 18, 2019. From left to right, Wright City Mayor Dan Rowden, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Finding permanent housing for every St. Louis-area homeless veteran by November sounds like a steep task.

But it’s what five Missouri and Illinois counties have promised to do.

St. Louis, St. Charles, St. Clair and Madison counties joined an initiative spurred by St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s “challenge to end veteran homelessness.” The challenge is part of a national movement to bring the number of homeless veterans to zero. The St. Louis Area Regional Commission on Homelessness will organize the local initiative.